Tales from the Arabian Nights: A BBC Radio 4 Drama

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
November 2023
3 hours 53 minutes
Seven of Shahrazad's stories of love, magic and mystery - plus bonus documentary

A collection of fabulous tales of genies, heroes, flying carpets and fantastic voyages, The Arabian Nights has enchanted generations of children and adults. Forged in the Islamic Golden Age, it was brought to Europe in the 18th Century, where it became an instant sensation. Included here are seven full-cast dramatisations, starring Carolyn Backhouse as Shahrazad and Derek Jacobi as the King, as well as a bonus edition of In Our Time exploring the story behind the tales.

Ghanim, the Thrall of Love - To escape the executioner's sword, Shahrazad beguiles the King with a spellbinding tale of love, jealousy, betrayal - and a magic drum.

The Ebony Horse - The magical story of a handsome prince, a beautiful princess, and a remarkable wooden horse.

The Three Suitors - When Jamilla's lover is thrown in prison, she devises a cunning plan to free him, involving a carpenter, a magistrate, a bogus camel-cleaner, and a wardrobe...

The Ninth Pedestal - Prince Zain inherits eight valuable statues - but the ninth is missing. He goes on a quest to find it - but what he discovers is beyond price...

Homza's Dance - The hunt for a lost arrow leads Prince Ahmed into an amazing adventure of sorcery and transformation.

The Hunchback - A series of bizarre accidents befall an eccentric cast of characters in a tale that's full of twists and turns.

The Dream of Baba Abdullah - In a final attempt to save her life, Shahrazad invites the king to enter the final story with her - or return alone...

In Our Time: The Arabian Nights - Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the myths, tales and legends of this ever-shifting sea of stories.

Cast and credits
Adapted by Colin Haydn Evans
Directed by Nigel Bryant
Music: Sue Harris and Steafan Hannigan

Starring Carolyn Backhouse as Shahrazad and Derek Jacobi as the King.

Ghanim, the Thrall of Love
Wazir - Simon Carter
Ghanim - Michael Lumsden
Leila - Moir Leslie
Caliph - Duncan Law
Rahil - Mary Wimbush
Slave - Richard O'Ryan
Old Man - Geoffrey Banks

The Ebony Horse
Kamar - James Telfer
The Sage - Roger Hume
Shams - Teresa Gallagher
Kamar's father - John Baddeley

The Three Suitors
Jamilla - Rachel Atkins
Hassan - William Chubb
Faris - Geoffrey Banks
Gaoler - Michael Mears
Magistrate - Philip Anthony
Carpenter - John Baddeley
Shahrazad's father - Simon Carter

The Ninth Pedestal
Prince Zain - James Telfer
Moubarak - John Baddeley
Genie - Steve Hodson
Maysun -Teresa Gallagher

Homza's Dance
Ahmed - James Telfer
Peri Banou - Rachel Atkins
Sultan - Philip Anthony
Sorceress - Mary Wimbush
Hussein - Steve Hodson

The Hunchback
Tailor - Harry Landis
Tailor's wife - Maria Charles
Doctor's wife - Mary Wimbush
Doctor - Philip Anthony
Seamstress - Kate Binchy
Christian - John Baddeley
Watchman - Jonathan Owen
Magistrate - Maurice Denham
Hunchback - Tania Ison

The Dream of Baba Abdullah
Baba Abdullah - Daniel Strauss
Dervish - Geoffrey Banks

In Our Time
Presented by Melvyn Bragg
With Robert Irwin, Marina Warner and Gerard van Gelder
Produced by James Cook

© 2023 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd. (P) 2023 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd
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